ESPN’s Bill Barnwell took a different tack for his NFL playoff preview.
Barnwell looked at the dream scenarios for each of the 12 teams that ended with a Super Bowl LIII victory, and that included a potential recap of the road each would take.
This is, of course, purely speculative, but it was fun, and it included the Chiefs beating the Rams for their first Super Bowl title in 49 years. In three of the cases for NFL teams, the Chiefs would make it to the Super Bowl.
That’s good, right?
Well, the scenarios for the three of the AFC teams, getting to the Super Bowl would include beating the Chiefs in the divisional-round game next week.
Here’s an excerpt of what Barnwell wrote about the Ravens, Chargers and Colts facing the Chiefs (and you can read the entire story here):
“Baltimore was able to create some badly needed takeaways in its subsequent upset victory over the Chiefs in the divisional round. Patrick Mahomes threw for 377 yards the first time these two teams played, but it took the MVP candidate a whopping 53 attempts to get there. Mahomes again threw more than 50 times and hit 350 yards in this loss, but the Ravens forced an interception and strip sacked a scrambling Mahomes for a key late-game turnover. With (Lamar) Jackson and (Gus) Edwards running all over the league’s worst rushing defense, the Ravens left Chiefs fans heartbroken with a 24-17 road victory.”
“(T)he Chargers struggled to stop Patrick Mahomes from marching up and down the field in their third matchup of the season against the Chiefs. Some well-timed red zone defense held the Chiefs to field goals and kept Los Angeles in the game with a 12-10 halftime score despite two first-half Rivers interceptions.
“The game turned when the Chargers successfully followed in the Saints’ footsteps and executed an unexpected onside kick to start the second half. The ensuing drive produced a touchdown pass from (Philip) Rivers to (Melvin) Gordon, giving the Chargers a 17-12 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The two teams traded touchdowns by two of the four Williamses on their roster, but a Michael Badgley field goal put Los Angeles up 27-19 with 2:44 to go. The Chiefs failed to manage the clock on the ensuing drive, with Mahomes eventually forced to heave a de facto Hail Mary into the end zone on fourth-and-13, only for Casey Hayward to bat the pass away.”
“(Indianapolis coach Frank) Reich’s offense called for a run-heavy attack to poke holes in a dismal Chiefs ground defense, and Marlon Mack approached 100 yards before halftime. Patrick Mahomes & Co. finished the game with just nine offensive possessions, and while they scored on five of those drives, Kansas City managed to punch only one of their red zone trips past the goal line.
“When Mahomes finally broke through and hit Travis Kelce for a 4-yard score to go up 19-17 with five minutes to go, it seemed inevitable that the Colts would respond. Indeed, Luck converted four third downs and bled the clock to 18 seconds before (Adam) Vinatieri kicked a 43-yarder to send Indy back east for a grudge match against their old fans in the AFC Championship Game.”
That last one would have to hurt the most, no?